What Can Cause Hot Flashes Other Than Menopause?

Reviewed on 6/3/2022
Woman wearing a long-sleeved shirt with sweat stains due to hot flashes
Conditions that can cause hot flashes besides menopause include certain medications, being overweight/obese, food allergies or sensitivities, niacin supplements, anxiety, rosacea, hormone conditions, endocrine imbalances such as overactive thyroid, carcinoid syndrome, infection, cancer, and hot sleeping conditions (“night sweats”).

Hot flashes are feelings of intense heat in the face and upper body that come on suddenly and can last from 30 seconds to several minute or more. When hot flashes occur at night they are referred to as “night sweats.”

While hot flashes are a characteristic symptom of menopause and perimenopause, there are other conditions that can cause hot flashes, such as:

What Are Symptoms of Hot Flashes?

A hot flash is a sudden, intense feeling of heat that radiates throughout the upper body and face. It can last a few seconds to several minutes. 

Other symptoms that may accompany hot flashes include: 

How Are Hot Flashes Not Caused by Menopause Diagnosed?

The cause of hot flashes is diagnosed with a patient history and medical examination. Testing will depend on the suspected cause of the hot flashes.

What Is the Treatment for Hot Flashes Not Caused by Menopause?

Treatment for hot flashes not due to menopause depends on the specific condition. 

  • If hot flashes are caused by certain medications, your doctor may change the dosage, regimen, or medication to one that does not cause hot flashes
    • Never stop taking a prescribed medication without first talking to your doctor
  • If hot flashes are caused by being overweight/obese, weight loss can help
    • Diet changes
    • Regular exercise
    • Medications or surgery may be indicated in certain obese patients
  • If hot flashes are caused by food allergies or sensitivities, patients may be advised to keep a food diary to track what they eat and avoid foods that trigger hot flashes
  • If hot flashes are caused by use of niacin supplements, it may be possible to find a non-flushing form of the supplement
  • If hot flashes are caused by anxiety, treatment may include
    • Psychotherapy
    • Dietary changes 
    • Medications 
      • Antidepressants
      • Benzodiazepines
      • Anti-anxiety drugs 
      • Anticonvulsants 
      • Antihypertensive drugs 
    • Cranial electrotherapy stimulator (CES) 
  • If hot flashes are caused by medical conditions, the underlying condition must be treated 
  • If hot flashes are caused by hot sleeping conditions, changes to the sleep area may be needed
    • Lower the thermostat
    • Use a fan to circulate air
    • Wear lightweight bed clothes
    • Use a lightweight blanket
Reviewed on 6/3/2022
Image Source: iStock Images